Nov 20 2018 Do I need Better Reports Or An Analytics Dashboard?


Business Intelligence and analytics

As we approach year’s end, many of us are reflecting on our accomplishments and planning for 2019. Some might even be scrambling to gather data and summarize business outcomes right at this moment. This is the perfect time of year to ask, “In a world full of data, are you getting the insight you need to effectively manage your contact center?” If you are spending a lot of time creating and sifting through a myriad of reports and are wondering if there are worthwhile options to explore in Business Intelligence (BI) & analytics…read on.

First, let’s get some terms straight.

A report is a static representation that summarizes Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for a business. These documents are essential tools for understanding the overall performance of your business.

BI & Analytics Dashboards are visual representations of data and are dynamic in nature. Most dashboards aggregate data from multiple data sources and display vital business information. Users analyze this data to gain true insight into business operations. Tools allow for drilling down, rolling up, sorting, grouping, and filtering (slicing) the data set. These tools are great for trend-spotting. Many BI tools are also proactive, monitoring activities and sending alerts in real time if a specified activity goes above or below a threshold.

Reports are great for providing information on how a business is performing at a particular point in time. Whether you underperformed, overperformed, or stayed flat, you will eventually ask several follow-on questions to understand why that was and how things can be improved in the future. Analytics tools allow you to get the full picture, faster.

When to use Reports and Dashboards


Reports work well for an executive or a manager trying to answer broad what, who, and where questions about key business performance metrics. Reports are most effective when organizations know the key metrics driving their business and operations, especially when metrics results can inform a specific course of action. For most, business operations are not that straightforward.


Analytics Dashboards are best used to answer the next level of questions that come from evaluating reports. These are the why, how, and when questions that need detailed investigation. These investigations are situational. In the past, organizations needed to either make investments to create and review more reports or conduct a one-off investigation. Being able to drill down, slice, and categorize data can lead to true business insights, which in turn inform the key actions that will move a business forward.

A real-world example

A client in the healthcare space reached out to MicroAutomation concerned about a containment situation in their claims administration call center. Inbound agent calls went up sharply during the day and triggered managers to start pulling together ad hoc reports and spreadsheets. These work products were able to show the “what” (that containment had dropped 20 basis points) but they didn’t explain the “why” (understanding the root cause). Using our Insights Analytics Service, we were able to look deeper into their recent customer behavior in the IVR exhibited by both providers and beneficiaries. We found that customers were responding abnormally to a minor announcement change in the main menu. From there, we put in place a targeted change to mitigate the situation. This insight also informed a longer-term solution of redesigning the call flow to help customers maximize their use of the IVR for a speedy resolution.

If you are wondering whether BI Analytics is a capability you need in your business, we have created this brief questionnaire to assess your current capabilities.